SI Vault
September 23, 1957
HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: Three and possibly four teams from this conference should finish the season with top national ratings. No conference in the country can present such heavily talented squads as Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan.
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September 23, 1957

The Big Ten

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Champaign, Illinois

COLORS: Orange and blue
BASIC OFFENSE: T with variations
1956 RECORD: Won 2, lost 5, tied 2
WATCH FOR: Take-charge Quarterback Bill Offenbecher, an upset engineer

THE DOPE: The fighting Illini are low on halfbacks. This is what Coach Ray Eliot says, but there are plenty of coaches who would gladly settle for what he has at hand in this department. Eliot has a first-rate quarterback in Bill Offenbecher, who stepped in to engineer the 20-13 midseason upset of Michigan State last fall. Offenbecher showed great improvement during spring practice and moved Eliot to comment: "Encouraging." The starting halfback slots will be filled by Captain Dale Smith and Bob Mitchell. Both are fine breakaway runners, though Mitchell has been hampered in the past with a recurring leg injury. There are several promising but untested sophomores to provide halfback depth. Fullback is well manned by Ray Nitschke and Jack Delveaux, two fine power runners. "Top defensive problem," says Eliot, "is development of a center who can handle linebacking duties." But this, apparently, is the only spot in the line which has the Illini coach worried. This team will miss Abe Woodson and may not finish in the Big Ten first division, but it should improve on last year's record and come up with at least one major upset.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 27 at UCLA, N (no game)
OCT. 5 Colgate (no game)
OCT. 12 at Ohio State (6-26)
OCT. 19 Minnesota (13-16)
OCT. 26 at Michigan State (20-13)
NOV. 2 Purdue (7-7)
NOV. 9 Michigan (7-17)
NOV. 16 at Wisconsin (13-13)
NOV. 23 Northwestern (13-14)

Bloomington, Ind.

COLORS: Cream and crimson
1956 RECORD: Won 3, lost 6
WATCH FOR: Combined elements of single wing and T formation in new offense

THE DOPE: The Hoosiers had scarcely finished waving goodby to ex-Coach Bernie Crimmins at the end of last season when they had to throw another farewell party for newly appointed Coach Phil Dickens. Dickens, after a highly successful tenure at Wyoming, took over the Hoosier reins only to be suspended by the Big Ten for one year for illegal recruiting. The installation of a new offense and a critical shortage of experienced manpower spell trouble for Dickens' understudy, Bob Hicks, who is in charge during Dickens' enforced absence. Arnie Steeves, the only experienced pivot in the lineup, was lost for the season as a result of surgery performed this summer. Four lettermen return at guard but only one, Tom Cousineau, has extensive game experience. The Hoosiers will have good passing, according to Hicks, but he adds "ends and other receivers lack the speed and agility to make the most of it." Then, too, there is the tough schedule, which sets up Michigan State, Notre Dame, Iowa and Ohio State for the first four weekends. In any other conference Indiana would have to be rated in the first division, but in the big-time Big Ten, the Hoosiers will be lucky to stay out of the cellar.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 28 at Michigan State (6-53)
OCT. 5 at Notre Dame (6-20)
OCT. 12 Iowa (0-27)
OCT. 19 at Ohio State (14-35)
OCT. 26 Villanova (no game)
NOV. 2 at Minnesota (no game)
NOV. 9 Cincinnati (no game)
NOV. 16 at Michigan (26-49)
NOV. 23 Purdue (20-39)

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